Leadership vs. Management: 13 Tactical Differences

by | Apr 3, 2012 | Leadership

I want to talk to you just for a minute about the differences between leadership and management. Often, the terms are used interchangeably, but they are really quite different from one another.

  • A manager’s job is to plan, organize, and coordinate; the leader’s job is to inspire and motivate.
  • The manager administers; the leader innovates.
  • The manager thinks short term; the leader thinks long-term.
  • The manager maintains; the leader develops.
  • A manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
  • The manager is transactional; the leader is transformational.
  • The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
  • The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
  • The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line (and they need to); the leader’s eye is always on the horizon.
  • The manager imitates; the leader originates.
  • The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
  • The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.
  • The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.

Leaders need to be managers — and — managers need to be leaders. Determine where you are strong and build up your weak side. Never presume because you are a good leader that you are managing well. Neither should you presume that because you are a good manager you are functioning as a good leader. Both skill sets can be learned — and both need to be intentionally cultivated.

Mark Dreistadt
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